I curated three site specific art exhibitions between 2011 and 2013 in the Congaree Vista district of Columbia, SC,. The exhibitions involved 30 artists working in a variety of non-traditional materials, in public spaces including an alleyway, historical building, abandoned train tunnel and churchyard. Install It website
The third exhibition tapped into the history of the Washington Street area which was once a major a business and social street for the African-American community. The street was and is the home of many important places such as the Zion Baptist Church, an African-American state fair and the Richard Samuel Roberts photography studio. The exhibition also tied in to Columbia 63, a celebration of important milestones in the Civil Rights Movement as well as Mayor Steve Benjamin’s Famously Hot Bicycle Ride. The artworks were in the former train tunnel that is now part of the Vista Greenway. The tunnel runs directly beneath Washington Street and serves as an apt metaphor for the hidden history of the street above.
Whipped Cream album covers
make delightful art show
During his many years as a record dealer Christopher Bickel discovered that nearly every collection he looked at contained a copy of Whipped Cream & Other Delights by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. The 1965 recording was No. 1 on the charts, but what most people remember is the cover – a photo of a dark-haired woman holding a rose, staring boldly at the viewer and wearing nothing but whipped cream.
After ignoring the record for years – there are so many out there it has little value – Bickel decided the lady on the cover was speaking to him and he began collecting copies of the album, eventually amassing about 400. For a long time he didn’t know exactly why he was collecting them. Then in 2013 he commissioned Columbia artist J. Spencer Shull to transform several of the covers into original art. Bickel began approaching more artists and they began coming to him about re-making
The exhibition Whipped Cream & Other Delights: remake/remodel brings together these artist-altered covers Feb. 4 – 23 at the Hallway Gallery of 701 Whaley. An opening reception will be held Tuesday, Feb. 4 from 6 to 8 p.m.
“After years of being simultaneously enthralled and annoyed with this album, I made it my mission to take it out of circulation and began buying every copy I could find,” Bickel says. “When they turned into a stack almost as tall as me I had to ask myself ‘What is wrong with me? Why am I hoarding these?’ So I began to give the covers to artist friends in an effort to turn an essentially worthless monument of obsessive-compulsive behavior into something of value.”
The few covers Bickel had commissioned caught the attention of Jeffrey Day, arts writer, publicist and curator, who offered to help recruit more artists to take part and organize an exhibition.
“This project allows the artists to bring their own vision to this iconic pop culture image,” Day says, “and it was just too fun an idea to pass over.”
Feb. 12 – March 13, 2014 – 701 Whaley, 701 Whaley St., Columbia, SC